Good Morning, Vietnam
The TiVo Remote's Untold Past, Present and Future -
When I posted my remote control rant the other day, Doug Harris pointed me to this great Christopher Mascari post from 2008 detailing the history of TiVo’s remote. One anecdote:
The designers were adamant about keeping the remote’s button layout as simple as possible. But with the DVR’s numerous features, the designers needed to create lots of extra buttons. To keep things straight, each button needed to have a distinctive feel, giving the ability to control the remote without even looking at it, which Newby described as a “key Braille-ability” surprisingly helped by the “blank finger parking spots between keys” that were equally important.
I owned a (second generation) TiVo and I can confirm that it did indeed have a brilliant remote. Nearly everything about it felt perfect. So I could not be less shocked to learn how much thought and care went into the creation of that remote.
And naturally, TiVo’s big-name television manufacturing partners hated it.
Twitter’s Small Chance To Maim Email
How Picasso Helps to Teach Apple’s Style -
Brian X. Chen looks a bit into Apple University:
In “What Makes Apple, Apple,” another course that Mr. Nelson occasionally teaches, he showed a slide of the remote control for the Google TV, said an employee who took the class last year. The remote has 78 buttons. Then, the employee said, Mr. Nelson displayed a photo of the Apple TV remote, a thin piece of metal with just three buttons.
How did Apple’s designers decide on three buttons? They started out with an idea, Mr. Nelson explained, and debated until they had just what was needed — a button to play and pause a video, a button to select something to watch, and another to go to the main menu.
The Google TV remote serves as a counterexample; it had so many buttons, Mr. Nelson said, because the individual engineers and designers who worked on the project all got what they wanted. But, Apple’s designers concluded, only three were needed.
Ah yes, I remember that remote well. And another great argument for the VP of Devil’s Advocacy.
Also, humorous timing of this given my own rant about remotes. (I still personally find the current Apple TV remote too simplistic. It’s nearly impossible to “type” with. But if it added voice input…)
I said to [reporters] at the Open, I didn’t think we were going to see the new Tiger era, as in someone creating their own kind of Tiger-esque era just yet. I guess you could say — I’m not eating my words, but I’m certainly starting to chew on them right now. — Graeme McDowell, talking about Rory McIlroy’s PGA Championship win yesterday. McIlroy’s second straight major, and fourth overall — by someone just 25 years old.
Guardians of the Galaxy
Silicon Valley & Parachute Journalism -
Om Malik on the more mainstream press wading into the Bay Area to cover tech:
When tech was hot at the turn of the century, Vanity Fair showed up lugging along its neon lights and fog machines. A few years later, when Google went to the stratosphere, the pattern was repeated. Has the New York Magazine, having run out of stories about New York and its insecurities and is sending reporters by the plane load to cover Silicon Valley — each one hoping to write about this tech-thing! Have Wolves of Wall Street become so docile that they don’t merit a proctology exam?
Of course George Orwell’s house has a black van parked in front of it.
Explain A Television Remote Control To Me Like I’m Five
When we were kids, if someone telephoned and asked if we had absinthe, we had to say no. But if they asked if we had some lapin for sale — rabbit meat — we’d say yes, come on by. And then we would sell them absinthe. — Françoise Gomes-Bovet, of the distillery Bovet, recalling the time when Absinthe was still illegal in Switzerland.
Joseph Cotten in The Third Man (1949, dir. Carol Reed) (via)
Elementary. (at Sherlock Holmes Statue)